TRIVIUM Frontman: 'If It Weren't For JAMES HETFIELD, I Literally Wouldn't Be Here'

May 13, 2010

Roadrunner Records has posted a new interview with guitarist/vocalist Matt Heafy of Florida metallers TRIVIUM as part of the label's "Gear Nerd" series, where Roadrunner talks to its artists about their instrument of choice and what fuels their passion, influences their sound and all about the specific instruments they use. Check out the chat in two parts by following the links below.

* Part 1
* Part 2

An excerpt from the chat follows.

Roadrunner: So who would you say has inspired you the most; who were you looking up to the most when you first started out

Heafy: If it weren't for James Hetfield (METALLICA) I literally wouldn't be here. I mean, I know that there are a lot of other musicians, in that band as well, especially from the "Black Album" era, but it was Hetfield who really brought me into metal. To see their live shows and see what a commanding presence he was, and to see how good of a guitar player he is. So, he got me into everything, then I bridged out from there.

Roadrunner: What other music do you think have influenced your playing

Heafy: So many. The first big chunk I got into, when I got into real metal was like, obviously METALLICA, PANTERA, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, SLAYER, IRON MAIDEN, BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST... Those were all the bands I got into first. Then I got really heavily into melodic death metal, bands like IN FLAMES and CHILDREN OF BODOM, ARCH ENEMY, DARK TRANQUILITY... the list goes on and on through like OPETH... (thinks) What else? There's like so many melodic death metal bands, pretty much all of them like DUSKFALL, MERCENARY even though they are a Danish band... just all over the Scandinavian area. Erm, got a little into death metal, never too much into death metal. The band that influenced my playing the most was KRISIUN, which is this ridiculously heavy death metal band from Brazil, but I got my tremelo picking from them, which is like really fast picking, I got that from that band. Um, got into black metal then after that through bands like EMPEROR and DIMMU BORGIR and MÖRK GRYNING, a Swedish band, DARK FUNERAL and ANOREXIA NERVOSA is this French black metal band — "New Obscurantis Order" is one of my favorite black metal albums. I joined a black metal band when I was like 16 or so in Florida wearing corpse paint, spiked armor, all that shit. Um, they kicked me out 'cause I was still in TRIVIUM and I wouldn't leave TRIVIUM. And I joined CAPHARNAUM, which is a technical death metal band, at like 16, 17 with [producer] Jason Suecof. So I went through all the extreme metal things, towards my senior year, I guess I must have been 17 or so, when I started getting into hardcore, that era's hardcore, bands like POISON THE WELL and HATEBREED. "Tear From The Red" (by POISON THE WELL) was really influential on me and HATEBREED's "Perseverance". I got into stuff like UNDEROATH's "They're Only Chasing Safety" and BELOVED's "Failure On". Oddly enough, after being into satanic black metal I got into a lot of Christian metalcore and hardcore bands, a lot of Christian emo bands and I was into, still am into, bands like FURTHER SEEMS FOREVER and DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, little things I never really talked about but were actually really big subtle influences on my sound, incorporated with huge bands like DEATH and IN FLAMES and KILLSWITCH (ENGAGE) that all rolled into one I guess and helped craft some of my style and some of the interesting things that happened on "Ascendency" and "Ember..." So I was in and out of those things for a little while, not as long as black metal or melodic death metal or anything.

Roadrunner: Anything outside of the metal genre that you think have influenced your playing style?

Heafy: I think for me it's more like bands like FURTHER SEEMS FOREVER and DASHBOARD... maybe even like MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE... things that took the guitar... I mean, if you look at FURTHER SEEMS FOREVER mostly, every single chorus had a different guitar melody than a rhythm guitar part, same thing like MAIDEN, so still it's things that came from metal and probably came from metal bands that maybe they liked. I remember when we did "The Crusade", I got very heavily into QUEEN and that's pretty much all I would listen to and a little bit of KELLY CLARKSON and some pop stuff and when we were doing "Shogun" really just into THE BEATLES. Lately, I've been into the entire DEPECHE MODE catalogue, pretty much exclusively DEPECHE MODE and classical music. Classical music has been the best thing I've listened to, it's helped my playing out so much — not in a Yngwie Malmsteen way, like shreddy ridiculous arpeggios and stuff, even though I could do some of those stuff, not as much as I used to, I leave that to guys like DRAGONFORCE. You know, dudes like Malmsteen took classical in a lead-guitar-playing sense where I've been taking classical in a song writing sense. I just listen to it, I don't know it formally, but when people hear our new stuff they'll know that it's been a subtle influence in there and even and even the "Shattering..." chorus, the rhythm guitar part I'm playing is very classically involved using three not chords, three separate note chords versus the standard power chord, which be like the same note, octave and the fifth, so I know a little bit about music but not too much. I've been getting into bands that are going really well with the graphic novels I've been reading, like DEPECHE MODE's "Sounds of the Universe" goes incredibly with "V for Vendetta" by Alan Moore. The new KINGS OF LEON album actually goes well with "Preacher", which is the greatest story ever, it's the greatest thing across any medium I've ever read, seen, played, anything, ever — "Preacher" by Garth Ennis. NINE INCH NAILS' "Year Zero" goes incredibly with "Sin City" by Frank Miller and "Black Celebration" by DEPECHE MODE goes incredibly well with anything that involves Batman. So, graphic novels and just getting into anything, any kind of music is really helpful. The last couple of things I got was "Wavering Radiant", the new ISIS album, and "Panopticon", so yeah, everything from symphonic black metal to avant-garde, I also have this CD that's all sort of Brazilian music which is really interesting, anything form jazz to flamenco music. Yeah, all music is good music to me as long as it's good. I just got the new PINK album too, I just wanted to see what it was like because I just heard she just did three sold-out months of Australia, which is like as much as AC/DC. With me, it's all about the song and it's all about bringing something to the table. I'll like it if I like it. I don't think I'll ever like pop-country, I think pop-country is terrible. I do like some folk bands like THE DEVIL MAKES THREE, this incredibly guitar trio band that has no drummer, and ULVER is one of my favorite bands, used to be a black metal band that recorded out in the forest then went to make this thing that was the soundtrack for this movie that never came out, then had this album that they read passage from William Blake in."

Check out the entire interview in two parts:

* Part 1
* Part 2

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